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Chronic Idiopathic Peripheral Neuropathy

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Last updated November 24, 2021

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What is chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy?

Chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy is when you have nerve damage in your limbs. "Idiopathic" means the cause is not known and chronic means the damage is ongoing without getting better or worse. Peripheral neuropathy refers to the feeling of numbness, tingling, and pins-and-needles sensation in the hands or feet.

The condition is most often found in people over age 60.


Nerve damage can cause a diverse range of symptoms in the hands, feet, or lower legs, including:


Peripheral neuropathy can greatly interfere with quality of life, so it’s important to see a doctor to treat the symptoms and reduce your pain and discomfort.

Chronic idiopathic peripheral neuropathy can be evaluated with a review of your symptoms, blood tests, and a test that checks the connection between muscles and nerves, called electromyography.

Once you’re diagnosed, your treatment depends on the type and severity of your symptoms. Treatment may include over-the-counter or prescription pain medication, seizure medication, or antidepressants. Your doctor may recommend exercises to increase muscle strength and control, therapeutic footwear to help with balance and walking, and safety measures to compensate for loss of sensation in the feet.

Surgery may be needed in some cases.

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